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Policy uncertainty continued to roil the individual exchange markets last week with POTUS declining to provide clarity on whether he supports the latest bipartisan bill to continue subsidies. Dems called for the bill to brought the floor amidst doubts about whether The President will sign the bill, while fending off efforts by GOP senators to make further changes. The IRS entered the fray saying it will reject tax returns that lack health insurance disclosures, a means by which the ACA tried to enforce the individual mandate. Whew.

The lines between traditional players in the health care sector are blurring rapidly.

In a sign of the blurring of lines in health care, we saw several announcements last week that indicate traditional players crossing over to non-traditional areas, and new players trying to enter the traditional domain of existing players. In the drug distribution business, Anthem and CVS agreed to launch a new PBM (after Anthem famously broke off a long term deal with Express Scripts), potentially opening up a highly consolidated market. Meanwhile, United Health indicated it sees Amazon as a potential partner for drug distribution, possibly pre-empting Amazon’s widely expected entry into the healthcare business. The impending entry of non-traditional players in the healthcare business was further underscored by reports that Apple tried to buy health care clinics, and the launch of a digital health platform by Anthem that will likely compete with stand-alone digital health platform companies.

After Judy Faulkner of Epic introduced the term CHR recently, every other EMR vendor did a me-too, each claiming they are transforming into platforms for comprehensive health records of the patient. Not so, said physician-writer Eric Topol, launching a widely shared tweet with a simple message: patients own their health records.

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